Kickoff Primer: What to Watch

MIAMI -- Before checking out Rutgers' game against Florida International at FIU Stadium (8 p.m. kickoff), make sure you know what to be looking for. ScarletReport.com's final piece geared toward the Scarlet Knights' first road game provides the impact players, who has the most to prove, what players are in "building" mode and more.

MIAMI -- Rutgers hits the road for the first time this season with today's game at Florida International, a team picked to finish sixth in the preseason Sun Belt Conference poll.

Maybe you are heading down for the game, or will cap what should be a sensational day of college football by tuning into SNY for the 8 p.m. kickoff.

ScarletReport.com will be at FIU Stadium to report on the action and bring reaction for it, but ScarletReport.com also has you covered leading up to the game.

Who will make the biggest impact, who has the most to prove and who is the player to watch? Well, we've done our best to identify those things, and offer a few other fun tidbits.

Impact players
1. QB Tom Savage – He was tops on the list last week, and remains there this week because of the trouble Rutgers had running the ball. Passing to set up the run is the way to go.
2. SS Joe Lefeged – He's going to be key in run support and making the right reads as FIU operates out of the spread. He is a sure tackle and a veteran presence.
Joe Lefeged
3. RB Jordan Thomas – His speed is electric, and he gives Rutgers something it hasn't had in years … a breakaway threat from the backfield. He can catch and run, and could break a big play.
4. WR Mohamed Sanu – Not much was done out of the "Wildcat" last week and he dropped several passes. He is better than that, and will rebound in a big way.
5. DE Jonathan Freeny – He had four tackles and ½ a sack in the opener, and will be instrumental in keeping containment and getting pressure on the quarterback.

Who has the most to prove?
1. LG Desmond Wynn – There were times he was searching for a linebacker to block in the opener, and other times he was either late or getting beat.
2. PK San San Te – Rutgers needs to start feeling confident when it gets in field goal range it will come away with points. And that means Te needs to start connecting beyond 40 yards.
san San Te
3. WR Jeremy Deering – He's a freshman, so he deserves a break, but he is capable of playing markedly better than he did in his debut. Home cookin' could do wonders for him.
4. P Teddy Dellaganna – He punted four times and averaged less than 37 yards per attempt. Consistency was his issue, especially since he had a 50-yard punt.
5. PR Mason Robinson – He returned two punts for 29 yards, and showed some nice moves, but it was his indecisions leading to a trio of punts not being fielded and costing Rutgers plenty of yards that needs to be remedied.

Looking to continue building
1. WR Keith Stroud – Injuries gave him an opportunity, and he had a nice start with two catches for 28 yards.
2. CB Brandon Bing – Consistency is his key on defense. He didn't gamble and played sound assignment football in the opener, and will be tested by FIU receiver T.Y. Hilton.
Joe Martinek
3. RB Joe Martinek – A bit of a strange pick since he is a second-year starter, but stay with us. He ran very well, showing toughness and heading north-south against Norfolk State. If he does that against FIU, he should break the 100-yard mark again.
4. DE Alex Silvestro – He plays in the shadows of Freeny and Scott Vallone on the defensive line, but broke out with four tackles for loss last week. Another game like that and folks will bring him up first when talking about the Scarlet Knights' defensive line.
5. LT Desmond Stapleton – His name wasn't mentioned much in Week One, and that is a good thing since he protects Savage's blind side.

Poised for a breakout
Steve Beauharnais
MLB Steve Beauharnais – He is mentioned often and also has the feel of being a seasoned veteran, but he will be making only his sixth career start. His career high is seven tackles, but he has the ability to dominate a game because of his ability to play sideline-to-sideline and his presence in the base 4-3 defense and in nickel packages.

Freshman worth watching
J.T. Tartacoff
WR J.T. Tartacoff – He is making the trip after not being available last week because of injury, and while he may not play, there is also a very good chance he will get in the game. He has exceptional speed and had a strong training camp before being injured.


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